Birth story - Chrissy and baby Grace
As someone who suffers with anxiety, the idea of giving birth always terrified me and when I first fell pregnant, I tortured myself with all the ideas of what might go wrong and the worst possible scenarios. About 6 months in I discovered the PBC digital pack and it was a total game changer! All of a sudden I came to the realisation that birth didn't have to be scary and traumatic, it could be a wonderful empowering experience. I worked my way through the pack with my husband and felt so much more relaxed about the whole process.
As I have a slightly high BMI, I was booked in for an additional scan at 32 weeks and during the consultant appointment that followed, they discovered that my blood pressure had rocketed. After half an hour it had eventually come down but the consultant was insistent that I come back every 2 weeks to be seen and have my BP and urine checked for any signs of pre-eclampsia.
I continued to have my blood pressure checked regularly and from around 37 weeks, the consultant began discussing induction. This is where my husband and I consistently used BRAIN. The consultant was unable to give us any real medical reason why I needed to be induced except that he felt it was the right thing to do. Each time I was offered I declined until we got to my "due date" when my blood pressure rocketed again. Using BRAIN we agreed to be induced 5 days later if baby hadn't already made an appearance as there was a concern for my health as well as the baby's. We did everything possible over those 5 days to get things going and the night before my induction I started to have surges. They were coming every 5-6 minutes and lasting around 45 seconds each but were easily managed with up breathing. I managed to get some sleep during the night as the surges slowed down to every 20 mins or so and were nowhere near as strong as before. We spent the morning in a lovely warm bath with essential oils and taking our springer spaniel for a walk around a local park. I continued to manage the surges with upbreathing, however as we made our way to the hospital they slowed even further and I had a bit of a wobble as I felt that my body had failed me. My husband was amazing at this point as he went through my positive affirmations and reminded me that we would soon have our baby in our arms.
As I checked in for induction I was examined and was only 1cm dilated so was given the pessary to try and get things moving. Almost immediately my surges returned but I managed the next 12 hours with just upbreathing and light touch massage from my husband. I was examined after 12 hours and hadn't progressed any further. At this point the lovely midwife explained that there was a bath on another ward which I could use to try and help me relax so we headed off there and spent the next couple of hours there, up breathing through the surges. I struggled to sleep that night as the surges were so strong and I asked for some pain relief and managed the next 12 hours with paracetamol and Codeine. I was examined again the next morning and there was still no progress so the pessary was removed and I was given a dose of gel. This really ramped up the surges but I managed these by walking around the hospital with my husband and mum and bouncing on my ball leaning over the bed. Finally after another 8 hours I was dilated enough for my waters to be broken so I was moved to the labour ward at around 11pm for this to happen.
After my waters had been broken I was told that I needed to be monitored for half an hour and then I'd be allowed to walk around the hospital and have a shower etc. Whilst I was being monitored, they discovered that baby's heart rate was dropping each time I had a surge so it was deemed too risky for me to leave the ward and I was hooked up to the syntocin drip to try and speed things along. By now the surges were coming thick and fast and I was exhausted after 2 days with no sleep, so using our BRAIN, I accepted an epidural to allow me (and my hubby who was on hand holding/back rubbing duty) to get a few hours sleep before the big push! After the best few hours sleep of my life, I was examined and found to be 5cm dilated. I was told I had 4 hours to be fully dilated or they would begin discussing a c-section. We spent the next 4 hours talking excitedly about all our plans for the baby and chatting and laughing with the midwives. I was examined again and was finally fully dilated so I think the oxytocin did its job!
The epidural was beginning to wear off so I could feel the surges and knew when to push. My midwife was amazing at this point, she took a back seat, allowing me to use my downbreathing. After an hour and a half of pushing, the baby's heart rate began to drop and the midwife asked if she could coach me with pushing which we agreed to. After another half an hour, it was determined that baby was slightly stuck and I would need assistance to deliver. Using BRAIN we agreed to forceps being used and my epidural was topped up so that the Dr could carry out an episiotomy. I was told that they would only try 3 times to get the baby out before I would be rushed to theatre for an emergency c section. This gave my the motivation I needed and I pushed with all my might whilst the Dr used the forceps. On the third try her head popped out and the body followed quickly after. It was the most incredible empowering moment of my life and we were both weeping tears of joy and relief as she was bought up to my chest for skin to skin. I can't thank Siobhan enough for helping me to stay so calm during what could be classed as a "traumatic birth". The up breathing was invaluable and helped me to keep a level head throughout the whole process. Grace was born on 26.08.2018
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